Program Details

The application deadline has been extended to April 29th, 2018. Successful applicants will be contacted by email in mid to late April to discuss placements.


Teachers Researching Evolution brings K12 science teachers into research labs during the summer months.  Currently, the program is a collaboration between the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action and, through funds provided by Wiley Publishers, the Society for the Study of Evolution.  We are also partnering with the National Association of Biology Teachers.  The goal of the program is to transform K12 teaching by engaging teachers in the process of scientific research.

What will participating teachers do?

Teachers will become part of a research group at an academic research institution, carry out a small, short-term research project, and are required to complete the following: (1) participate in virtual weekly meetings with other TEACHER REVOLUTION participants; (2) develop a Data Nugget based on their work; (3) create a poster for presentation at a conference; (4) present at BEACON Congress and/or a national or state conference if possible; (5) write a blog post; (6) complete pre/post surveys.  

Requirements for Application

You must be:

  • U.S. Citizen (for funding reasons)
  • Available for the duration of the program – at least 4 weeks and up to 8 weeks depending on lab.
  • Teaching currently at the K12 level (preservice teachers may be considered).


Teachers will receive a stipend of $625 per week.  In addition, teachers receive $500 for lab materials for summer research, $500 for classroom supplies, and $1000 for travel to a conference.  

Continuing Education Credits

Currently, there is not a way to provide Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) through either the BEACON Center or the Society for Evolution as a result of the distributed nature of teacher placements. However, it may be possible to make arrangements for CEUs at the various universities participating in the program. These opportunities will be discussed on a case by case basis.


Housing is not provided.  We recommend teacher participants be able to commute to the research lab.  However, if projects occur at a field station or other similar venue, or require additional travel, a small amount of funding may be available.  Teachers should inquire once applicants have been chosen.


Travel costs to/from labs are the responsibility of the teachers.  Travel costs are covered for travel to meetings and will be reimbursed following submission of receipts.


All science education reform – from the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States 2013) to the AP Biology Framework (The College Board 2011) and Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education (Bauerle et al. 2011) – require more from both students and instructors.  From K-12 teachers, the expectation is that they will be able to integrate content, science practices, and crosscutting concepts, to achieve 3-dimensional learning (NRC 2014).  In effect, we now expect K-12 teachers to teach their students how to be scientists, yet many teachers have never had the opportunity to conduct scientific research.  The Teachers Researching Evolution program was created to offer teachers authentic research experiences through partnership with a scientist mentor and provide professional development opportunities in content and pedagogy.  Research suggests providing teachers with these two types of options (school year professional development and a two-summer RET with the same mentor) improves the impact of the experience on their teaching and student learning (Herrington, et. al. 2012, Silverstein, et. al. 2009).

Program history

In 2015 and 2016, Mead and Haas worked to pool resources and create cohorts of teachers engaging in summer research, first at MSU and Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), and then extending the program across our consortium.  In 2018 the program expanded beyond the BEACON consortium using matching funds from the Society for the Study of Evolution (provided by Wiley Publishers) to place teachers in the research labs of SSE members. Each year we have asked participating teachers to evaluate their experiences, and have built on this feedback, all of which has added to our knowledge of what works and what does not.  The 2018 participating teachers were scattered across the United States (California, Michigan, New Jersey, Colorado, and North Carolina), and hence all pedagogical discussions were virtual. The 2019 summer is once again supported by NSF’s BEACON and the Society for the Study of Evolution courtesy of Wiley Publishers.